Big Al’s Burgers at the Junction got its start in 1988, rendering it one of Kanab’s most veteran food service locations - and on September 26, 2023, the eponymous Alan “Big Al” Alldredge gathered up the family and crew to put on a 35th anniversary celebration for the town.
The two-hour event included free cotton candy, ice cream, cake and a raffle for visitors, including Big Al’s at the Junction merchandise, gift certificates and Coca Cola merchandise, as Coke has been a major partner and supplier of the business for a while.
Big Al’s is a family business, as illustrated by Alldredge’s children and grandchildren frequently helping out and even investing careers into the establishment. Different members of the Alldredge family could be heard describing Alan and his wife Rinda’s children and grandchildren as “the next generation of burger flippers.” Most members of the family pick up shifts here and there, and Alan and Rinda’s third son Matthew, along with his wife Vanesa, are slated to take over the restaurant once the first generation of Alldredge’s to run the joint are ready to retire.
During the event, many locals had kind words for the Alldredge family, with a few of the older citizens of the town taking note of the family’s contributions to the community. “Feels like the Junction has been here my whole life,” one attendee said. Another mentioned, “Al’s a great guy. I can’t imagine trying to run a business and do all the law enforcement and [Search and Rescue] stuff that he does at the same time. And now his kids are working locally, running businesses and getting into law enforcement too. I can’t imagine where we’d be without the Alldredges.”
Big Al’s is also a popular tourist destination, as a sort of distilled landmark of smalltown rural culture. During the two-hour window anniversary celebration, the Junction remained open to regular patrons, resulting in some very curious visitors getting free cake and wondering what all the fuss was about. One kind family from Hungary were pleasantly surprised by the free cake, and asked what American holiday was being celebrated - an experience which, according to a few members of the Junction service team, is quite regular.
As Big Al’s celebrates its 35th, the team looks forward to further years serving Kanab, and keeping the family business going on for the sake of both the town and the “next generation of burger flippers.”